The music video is an extraordinary medium because it combines several art forms into one project. Lovers of music, dance, and film can all pull something of value from a musician’s visual interpretation of one of their songs. Like always, this year produced some great videos, but a few stood out from the rest in our eyes. Here are DZI: The Voice‘s list of favorite videos of 2013.
Atoms For Peace
Director: Garth Jennings
Thom Yorke’s routine in “Lotus Flower” by Radiohead was just an early shot from the British performer’s dance revolution. This year he returned with Fukiko Takase as cavalry for this clip off supergroup Atoms For Peace’s debut album Amok.
Directed: Jim Demuth
Sometimes the greatest aspect of music videos is getting to discover cultures different from your own. That’s what makes Django Django’s “Wor” an intriguing work of art. Viewers are literally transported to the center of India’s Well of Death riders’ captivating world.
Director: Rich Lee
Slim Shady returns as a Hip Hop deity in the video for “Rap God.” Besides demonstrating telekinetic powers and walking on water, Em also pays homage to fellow rap legends residing on Mount Olympus like Run-D.M.C., N.W.A, Rakim, and 2Pac.
Director: Ryan Baxley
The saying goes “it never rains in Southern California.” Well in “Cocaine” Nick Offerman (aka Ron Swanson of Parks and Recreation) showers L.A. with gold. Like the full name of their band, “Fuck It Dog, Life’s a Risk”, these punk rocker’s vid is crude, yet hilarious. And yes… it’s fake.
Director: Mark Romanek
Part of Jay Z’s well documented journey to the high life includes the rapper’s outspoken appreciation for other artistic mediums. That respect was on full display in his “Picasso Baby: Performance Art Film” which features cameos from artists like Marina Abramović, George Condo, Lorna Simpson, and Rashid Johnson.
J. Cole featuring Miguel
Directors: Nabil Elderkin and Mike Piscitelli
J. Cole’s “Power Trip” starts out as what appears to be the typical tale of love lost and regret, but about 3 minutes into the clip it’s revealed that Cole actually took a sharp turn toward the dark side after seeing the women he loves in the arms of R&B singer Miguel.
Directors: We Are From L.A.
In the world’s first 24-hour music video, Pharrell Williams and what seems like every other human being on the planet share their dance moves and unbridled joy with the audience. When Skateboard P tells to you “clap along” it’s more like an unbreakable spell than a mere suggestion.
Directors: Mike King, Flea Circus Films, and Puscifer
If an artist attempts to cover a classic song like Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” they better find a way to make it their own. Tool’s Maynard James Keenan used his other project, Puscifer, to tackle that challenge with an eerily fascinating video of heads superimposed over old black-and-white footage.
Director: Nathaniel Brown
Less can be more. In the tradition of Sinead O’Conner’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” and D’Angelo’s “Untitled (How Does It Feel)“, Pusha T’s “King Push” is a minimalist video where all the performer needs is space and a camera to emote the energy and passion expressed in the song.
Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko
Director: Sophie Muller
Rihanna crossed over into superstardom as the “good girl gone bad”, but the Barbadian pop singer shed her bad girl image and revealed her vulnerability in the video for “Stay”. The pain, confusion, and hint of hope in Ri Ri’s eyes personify the feeling of trying to figure out the next step in a complicated relationship.
Thirty Seconds To Mars
“City of Angels”
Director: Jared Leto
What better way could Thirty Seconds To Mars visualize the trials and triumphs of chasing fame in the City of Angels than to interview Hollywood A-listers like Kanye West, James Franco, Lindsay Lohan, and Selena Gomez as well as some of L.A.’s infamous street performers?
Tyler, The Creator
Director: Wolf Haley
By now, everyone should know it’s a strange, brilliant, unhinged, enchanting place inside the mind of Tyler, The Creator. But yet, whenever Tyler drops a video the world is still mesmerized by what escapes from his thoughts. The self-directed clip for “I Fucking Hate You” is further evidence that the OFWGKTA front man is a maniacal genius.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
If the masterworks Frankenstein, The Crucible, and Memento were mashed-up into a 4 minute short film, the result would be the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Sacrilege” video. It may take a few viewings to fully grasp what’s happening in the story, but hitting the replay button a couple of times is well worth it.